La Cocina VA

May 14, 2020 | Paycheck Protection Program Loan Stories

As the pandemic continues, having access to food and jobs is critical. La Cocina VA is addressing that need by using Paycheck Protection Program funds to pay its five employees. It’s also hiring an operations manager who will help finalize processes and procedures needed to open its much-anticipated Zero Barriers Training and Entrepreneurship Center (TEC) this summer. The loan also is covering rent and utilities.

The application process was clear, easy, expedited, and supported by several VCC executives offering constant guidance and prompt responses, says Paty Funegra, CEO and founder of La Cocina VA. The Arlington-based nonprofit uses the power of food to create social and economic change in low-income communities.

Programming changes will help meet clients’ emerging needs and support them in obtaining jobs, regaining income, and rebuilding financial stability. “Our direct support to local food maker entrepreneurs will also provide the opportunity to generate income in a short period of time through our culinary kitchen incubator services,” Funegra says.

Its Risk Management Task Force is helping the organization continue its social mission by adapting services and rapidly prototyping approaches. La Cocina VA has redesigned how services are offered, reduced costs, and leveraged new TEC infrastructure. “We have a sense of what the unmet needs of our target population might be, what types of impact might be most valuable, and what the most meaningful metrics will be,” she added.